It will shock a lot of people today to know that the Durand Cup in India (founded by Mortimer Durand in 1888) is still the world's 3rd oldest club competition in the world only behind the English F.A cup and Scottish Cup.
I know what you are thinking…India, why India, and not the top European country competition.
India has a rich football history, no thanks to the British soldiers stationed in the Asian country and helped spread the new sport to every nook and cranny of the “Mystic land” But the big question is still,
What really happened to football in India? Imagine Calcutta F.C was the first club to be formed in India in 1872, while Mohun Bagan A.C founded in 1889 is now India’s oldest current team.
The India football association (IFA) was established in 1893, and legendary India player Gostha Paul led India to her first International football match victory 1:0 over Ceylon in 1933.
India was the Asian best team in that period. They finished 4th place (in football games) in the 1958 Olympics in Australia. They defeated host Australia 4:2 and became the first Asian team to score in an international competition.
They were also the first Asian team to reach the Olympics semi-finals (lost 4:1 to Yugoslavia in the semi, and lost 3rd place to Bulgaria by 3:0) Indian finished 4th in Asian games, came 2nd in the 1959 Merdeka Cup, and in 1962 defeated south Korea 2:1 to reach the finals.
It strongly believed after India won the 1983 cricket world cup, a euphoria swept through the nation as cricket became a religion and the star players seem like gods.
Truly football is now a way of life. Go see a match of Kerala blasters and see thousands of supporters cheering the “Yellow submarines” to victory.
As more youths are involved from the grassroots level with active government support, it won't be long before India plays its first FIFA world cup match.
By: Prakhar Sharma
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